Vietnam to evacuate 80,000 people from tourism hotspot over coronavirus fears

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Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people from the central city of Danang after three residents tested positive for coronavirus, the government has announced.

The country is back on high alert after it confirmed its first community infections since April this weekend, with three cases in the tourism hotspot of Danang.

The government said in a statement that the evacuation, which includes mostly tourists, will take at least four days with domestic airlines operating approximately 100 flights daily from Danang to 11 Vietnamese cities.

The south east Asian country has imposed strict quarantine measures and carried out an aggressive and widespread testing programme during the pandemic.

The three new cases on Sunday include a 17-year-old boy in the central province of Quang Ngai and a 71-year-old woman in Danang city, the government said in a statement.

A 61-year-old man from Danang is also reported to have tested positive for the virus.

The evacuation of the city is part of Vietnam’s ongoing efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

The country had gone 99 days without community transmission by Friday before a 57-year old man was confirmed to have the virus on Saturday.

Vietnam is still closed to foreign tourism, but there had
been a surge in domestic travellers looking to take advantage of
discounted flights and holiday packages to local hotels and
resorts.

The government has said that anyone returning from Danang to other parts of the country must quarantine at home for 14 days.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered police to step up a crackdown on illegal immigration to the country, in an effort to curb new cases.

State media on Sunday said police in Danang had arrested a 42-year-old Chinese man it said was the head of a criminal group which helps people illegally enter Vietnam from China.

But authorities have not officially linked the new cases in Danang to illegal immigration.

The government said in a separate statement on Monday that authorities in Ha Giang province, which borders China, had caught more than 1,500 people illegally crossing into the
province since May.

Most of those caught were Vietnamese citizens, the statement said, and were quarantined.

The country’s total cases stands at 420, according to the Johns Hopkins University which is tracking the outbreak.

Vietnam has no recorded coronavirus deaths.

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